Room

room

So, our next book is ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue. I can’t put it down to be honest but I can’t say that I’m enjoying it! I just want to get to the end of it! I don’t particularly like her style of writing as I am not convinced that I am reading the words of a 5 year old. On the other hand, it is heart-wrenching and stirs up all kinds of emotions. Thoughts please?

Our Book Club meeting was held this week at The Celtic Lodge . It was a nice venue and I must plug the Nachos! There was a mountain of them and they were great!

So to the book. We had so many different views of this book. Shocking, disturbing, claustrophobic to name a few. We really took ‘Room’ to pieces!! We had lots of different and similar opinions to share with some hating the book and some loving it! A bit like Marmite, I suppose. I changed my mind about it somewhat after hearing others’ views and looking at the story from a different angle. However, it is definitely not a book that I will re-read! Bev gave the book the most praise. She started reading it with very little enthusiasm but went back and started again, and changed her opinion altogether. She was completely taken by Ma’s strength throughout the story and her protectiveness towards the boy, while others disliked Ma altogether and were angry at her for being so weak. She was bland and emotionless but I assume we felt this way as the story was narrated through the eyes of a 5 year old who didn’t understand what was going on around him resulting in the reader unable to forge an emotional bond with Ma, especially during those horrid visits form ‘old Nick’. To Jack,  Old Nick simply brought groceries to them and an occasional birthday present.

Then we discussed the fact that there was no contact of any kind between Jack and ‘Old Nick’ for 5 years! Again, we were divided with some thinking that it was a totally impossible concept and others believing that Ma once again was protecting her son form evil and he should not look into the eyes of the devil, or was the author not making a character of ‘Old Nick’ because the story was not about him and the less we knew of him the  better. The media always sensationalises the abductor and his/her sinful deeds in cases like this one, delving into his/her backgrounds and wondering how they became the misguided people they turn into. But this doesn’t happen to ‘Old Nick’.

Although I personally could not put the book down, it was more more due to the desire to know what was going to happen in the end and to get the whole reading experience over and done with,  rather than being thrilled by each page. I felt no suspense at all while reading it. and was simply reding words on a page. Again I think it was because the author confines her point of view to Jack.

Then we have the implausible ‘Escape’! For some reason the reading became easier and more comfortable in the second half of the book. Everyone felt this so I would definitely say this is a strength of the author. The first part was difficult to read because we have never experienced such a situation. We have never had to live in a small room for 10 years with no contact with  the outside world. We haven’t had to bring up a child who has been imprisoned  all his life with his mother being the only person he has had any human contact with. Her writing made us feel uncomfortable and it was incomprehensible. Then they hit the outside world and the style of writing changes and it becomes easier to read. Very clever writing there form Donaghue.

I could go on and on but hopefully the Book Club members will contribute to this blog with their views.

Here are some Tweets about the book:

 

‘Room’ has been made into a film! We need a DVD night now! Here is a sneak preview:

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3 thoughts on “Room

  1. I have just finished this and didn’t enjoy it at all. I think Emma Donoghue was very ambitious and brave to attempt writing through the eyes of a 5 year old but it really didn’t work for me. Naming all the objects in Room didn’t impress me and it wasn’t convincing in the least. The second part of the book opened up a bit and read somewhat easier but the characters remained under developed and emotionless. Was it because they were portrayed to us through the eyes of an immature 5 year old?

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  2. I agree about the style of writing, I didn’t like it. Although I did feel it did change half way through, still through the eyes of the five year old but in a less immature way, if that makes sense! Like Janet I read it quick, I liked the idea of the story which was thought provoking but wouldn’t like to read a book written in that style in a hurry!!!

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  3. Room

    One of the biggest disappointments of the year for me. I bought this book for my mother a few years ago as i had heard great things. To this day, she hasn’t read it. She read a few pages and said “i’m finding it difficult”. She didn’t elaborate on this, but i can definitely agree. Room is difficult….in a few different ways. I’ll be positive to start: i liked the plot (for the most part). Mom and Jack are in a horrendous situation and i was extremely curious about how they could possibly escape. I definitely felt empathy towards them both…..for a while. And that’s pretty much all i can say that i liked. The other side of this is vast. Jack is a d***head. I don’t particularly like children under the age of 10 anyway – but Jack is a whiny brat who is never content and is stubborn to a fault. Mom, conversely, created a great deal of empathy in me for having to deal with not only her awful imprisonment but also the fact that she was locked in a small room with an extremely annoying child. Until about 75% of the way through the story, anyway. Around this time, Mom does something which immediately makes her unlikeable. Something so heinously selfish that i almost stopped reading. I made myself continue but i no longer cared about the plight of the protagonists. As well as this, the writing was exasperating. I understand that the author was trying to help us see through the eyes of a five year-old but the problem is that the mind of a five year-old is hell itself. Random nonsense and stream of consciousness pervade. Some things were obvious to decipher (Jack referring to tv channels as “planets”) but other times i had no idea what Jack (and by proxy, the author) were trying to say. My final criticism is that only about half of the novel has an actual plot – a reason for existing. Mild spoilers ahead: the first half concerns leaving the Room – a difficult plan is created which results in Jack and Mom achieving their freedom. And then it stops. Not literally, of course, but the plot becomes meandering from this point. Jack and Mom spend the second half of the novel doing very little. Jack goes to a park. Jack goes to a shopping mall. It’s like reading the diary of a child. There is no urgency or purpose any more. I didn’t hate Room…but it’s extremely flawed. Oh and last thing: the way they escape? Nonsense. Utter nonsense. ** out of *****.

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